England v Pakistan
Tuesday 20 July 18.30
TV: live on Sky Sports
Ripping up the rule book
Moeen Ali picked up the man of the match award in game two. He scored 36 and took two wickets. It's hardly Boy's Own stuff is it?
But then Moeen is the epitome of the modern T20 player and forces us to re-learn the game. Moeen struck at 225, hitting against pace or spin with such skill that, with a few months to go before the World T20, he is forcing England to go back to school, too.
Moeen batting at No 4 is a move borrowed from Chennai Super Kings, who gave the all-rounder licence to hit with abandon in the Indian Premier League in the UAE at No 3. It paid off with Moeen striking at 157.
If England retain faith with Moeen up the order they are a much more dangerous proposition. We will also be forced to reassess the top-bat market. Moeen has only top scored three times in his England career but then he has been largely wasted, often batting at No 7.
Sportsbook go 5/1 about him top-scoring, which is chunky for a man at two down. We would expect him to shorten up to 7/2 in time. There's nothing wrong with taking the price now purely on an 'eye' bet. We'll keep faith with Dawid Malan, though who has drifted to 7/2. He fits the bill on win rate and wrong price.
Top England bat last two years wins/matches
Top Pakistan batsman last two years wins/matches
Babar v Hafeez
Data can give with one hand but take away with the other. Take Sportsbook's 5/6 that Babar Azam busts 31.5 runs when he opens the batting for Pakistan at Old Trafford.
In 2021, Babar has beaten that mark 13 times in 25. It's a slightly disappointing return on win rate, meaning we're in the red by 2.5% points. It's a tough buy. Extend the study period for another year and you get a different picture. In 2020 Babar copped at that rate 64.5% of the time. Combined two-year data suggests he has a 58% chance of winning.
Another comfort rug is his runs per innings data. Over his career he manages 36.9 every time he goes to the crease.
Babar RPI by year
So the long haul on study suggests it's not a mug wager. Nor, by the way is it outrageous to be taking the boosted 9/4 that he top bats. That is implied probability of 30.8%. On two-year win rate he's at 41% chance. On career form he wins 38% of the time.
There is a significant threat, though, in the shape of Mohammad Hafeez. Hafeez topped twice for Pakistan at Old Trafford last year against England. The 9/2 is okay but we're very taken with the 17/1 that he top scores in the match.
As discussed in our match preview, this wicket might not be as flat as Trent Bridge and Leeds which brings the hitters back to the pack. Hafeez is a 17/1 for top match bat. He is at No 8 on the all-time list for top match bat and has a win rate of 12%. That's a massive edge of 6.4%.
Top England bowler wins/matches last two years
Jordan 5 3t/28
Rashid 3 5t/27
T Curran 1 3t/22
S Curran 1 4t/16
Wood 1 2t/14
Stokes 1 2t/11